Reviews & Articles

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Performance Analysis

If I look at pure numbers, performance is higher than expectations. What I found is that Dark Arisen has been ported with immense care and attention, getting excellent performance, as well as offering a multi-GPU profile. Visuals look somewhat similar to Knights of the Old
What we liked
  • Multi-GPU profile
  • Excellent overall porting
  • Extremely efficient hardware usage
What didn't impress us
  • Numerous graphical glitches (AMD hardware)
  • VSync off causes even more graphical glitches

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Review

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a rereleased RPG from Capcom that came out no so long ago. What PC gamers get is the Dark Arisen campaign, plus all the original title's content and DLC in a remarkably well priced package. It's been ported over with exceptional skill too
What we liked
  • Vast, pretty distant environments
  • Highly rewarding exploration
  • Hundreds of hours of content
  • Upgrade system is a nice addition
  • Excellent control options
What didn't impress us
  • Pawns shout ALL THE DAMN TIME
  • Combat is immensely sluggish and bland
  • Tutorial misses out key systems
  • Quests are immensely boring and repetitive
  • Enemy variance comes in different colours
  • Quick travel stone system is arbitrary nonsense
  • Hired pawns are frequently outdated
  • Story is almost entirely forgotten
  • Vocation system is never explained
  • Map only shows POI AFTER you've found them
  • Lack of itemisation

Contract Performance Analysis

Needless to say performance was pretty good. The advantage of most titles made in Gamemaker with this particular style of content, is that they run on anything that will let you install it on. Obviously there's no multi-GPU profile but that doesn't matter in the slightest.
What we liked
  • Will run on a potato
What didn't impress us
  • Nothing

Contract Review

Contract is a side-scrolling 8bit shooter made in Gamemaker by Sylvian Houben. It's relatively simplistic in its mechanics and style, but woos a player with the promise of fast, silky smooth gameplay and a neat little upgrade system to shake things up.
What we liked
  • Easy early game, challenging late game
  • Neat little upgrade system
  • Bizarrely perfect soundtrack
  • Vast, complex levels
  • More free content to come
What didn't impress us
  • Very short
  • No video/audio options
  • Numerous bugs (AI, upgrades, stealth kills)
  • No audio feedback
  • VSync forced
  • Needs a clearer UI

Vector 36: Performance Analysis

Performance wasn't too bad all things considered. It's a relatively high fidelity game with a couple of rough edges and plain ground textures, and has just gone into the stage of optimisation. It had no multi-GPU profile which is fair enough, given its current state
What we liked
  • Plenty of optimisation to come
What didn't impress us
  • Doesn't hit Oculus Rift FPS requirement (75/90)
  • 4K display is simply scaled

Vector 36 Impressions

Vector 36 is a physics based racer by Red River Studio LLC, sporting VR support along with a release date that should hopefully coincide with the Oculus Rift CV1's release. The title has often been compared with Episode I: Racer, but is much more complex and physics orientated
What we liked
  • Truly challenging races
  • Bias system is a great concept
  • Interesting damage system
  • Massive, varied maps
  • Incredibly deep customisation
  • Awesome sense of speed mid-late game
  • Plenty of science to dig into
What didn't impress us
  • Hard to pick up
  • Boring, repetitive early game
  • Damage system is currently too brutal
  • Limited video options
  • Customisation limited by content quantity
  • 3rd person camera needs UI
  • Navigating UI by controller is tough
  • AI needs fine tuning
  • Races could use more opponents
  • Fuel purge system feels useless

Shadow Complex Remastered - Performance Analysis

I must admit, I was highly disappointed with the performance. This is a remastered title done in the older Unreal Engine 3. To put that into perspective, UE3 is 11 years old. 4K performance was relatively dire, and that should not have been the case.
What we liked
  • Tiny VRAM footprint
  • Minimal CPU usage
What didn't impress us
  • Sub-par 4K performance

Shadow Complex Remastered Review

Shadow Complex Remastered is the original 2009 title refreshed and redone in the not-so-latest Unreal Engine 3. It's still developed by chAIR and Epic Games, and was let loose for free over the holiday period. The full reimagining will be released for all platforms shortly after
What we liked
  • Great end-game combat
  • Melee has real punch
  • Gadgets can feel pretty unique
What didn't impress us
  • Early game is boring
  • Cringeworthy storyline/characters
  • Movement isn't remotely smooth
  • Not enough time spent on melee
  • Little variance to enemies
  • Z-axis shooting is badly implemented
  • Laser aiming is off mark
  • Bosses are badly scripted bullet sponges

Helldivers: Performance Analysis

I think this is possibly one of the best optimised games out there. Graphics aren't too dissimilar from XCOM: Enemy unknown; that cartoonish blocky character type with deep pastel colours. Still despite the average graphical nature, the game still runs beautifully for its
What we liked
  • Extremely well optimised
  • Zero multiplayer issues
  • 1080p can be played on integrated graphics
  • Minimal 4K requirements
What didn't impress us
  • Nothing

Helldivers Review

Helldivers is Arrowhead's reimagining of the twin-stick shooter. To say that it's added depth to an otherwise highly simplistic genre is an understatement. Somehow they've managed to mash in aspects of a few different games to make this bizarrely addictive multiplayer title.
What we liked
  • Surprising attention to detail
  • Tonnes of content and gear
  • Clear variation between gear
  • Nice, large community
  • Low entry skill requirement
  • Great range of level difficulties
  • Best multiplayer system implementation EVER
What didn't impress us
  • Singleplayer nowhere near as fun
  • Objectives are quite repetitive
  • Quite a lot of grinding
  • Some vehicles are counterintuitive

Just Cause 3: Performance Analysis

In terms of framerate, Just Cause 3 was just as expected. It's a beautiful game, it's massive, and there's a surprising attention to detail. As such performance on 1080p was above average, requiring a fair amount of grunt from the GPU, while 4K was crippling.
What we liked
  • Multi-threaded support
What didn't impress us
  • No current hardware can make 4K playable
  • Occasional physics glitches

Just Cause 3 Review

In the event you thought the copious amount of explosions in Just Cause 2 was unsatisfactory, Avalanche Studios have spent years developing the perfect explosions for Just Cause 3. Published by Square Enix, Just Cause 3 is powered by the latest iteration of the Avalanche Engine
What we liked
  • Absolutely gorgeous title
  • Best ocean since Crysis
  • Bloody enormous map
  • Millions of things to do
  • Hundreds of hours worth of gameplay
  • Wingsuit is a pleasant addition
  • Loads of procedurally unlocked vehicles
  • Core story is more focused than JC2
  • Well developed characters
  • Plain old-fashioned fun title
What didn't impress us
  • AI still needs work
  • Damage model is highly eratic
  • Few primary and secondary weapons
  • Precision aim is locked behind a MOD
  • Freeing towns gets repetitive

Thea: The Awakening Performance Analysis

Because of the style of game, Thea requires minimal FPS to feel relatively smooth. That said overall performance was pretty great. The game isn't the most graphically amazing title, but it has substance. What surprised me more was that an indie title like this actually had
What we liked
  • Requires minimal FPS for "smooth" gameplay
  • Small VRAM footprint
What didn't impress us
  • Surprisingly high GPU requirements

Thea: The Awakening Review

MuHa Games' latest creation is Thea: The Awakening, which has been entirely created in the personal version of the Unity engine. It's this lovely mish mash of rogue-like, 4X and CCG. You might think that a rogue-like 4X will have limited depth, but you couldn't be more wrong.
What we liked
  • HUGE map
  • Hundreds of hours of content
  • Supports multiple play styles
  • Has some persistence between games
  • Extremely detailed game difficulty options
  • Masses of randomised content
  • Villager management feels very personal
  • Resource management is spot on
What didn't impress us
  • Card game feels bland and repetitive
  • Not everyone has dozens of hours for a single match
  • Number of stats can be overwhelming
  • Tutorial lacks depth

Hard West: Performance Analysis

Performance overall was somewhat interesting. 4K figures were well below 40 FPS, although with this type of game, lower figures make little difference to the feeling of smoothness. I think overall I was quite disappointed with performance. I expected much higher framerates
What we liked
  • Feels smooth at lower FPS
  • Minimal 1080p GPU requirements
What didn't impress us
  • No "true" fullscreen mode
  • Inventory bugged often
  • Unreasonable 4K performance

Hard West Review

Hard West is the first great slam down of a Western Turn-Based Strategy title in basically forever. What's more it's not just about the harsh wastelands of the Frontier, but also features smatterings of the occult, and some crazy science in some instances.
What we liked
  • Luck system is a fantastic concept
  • Great weapon/item/card variety
  • Fascinating little story segments
  • As easy or as challenging as you desire
  • Injury persistence system is a brilliant idea
  • Every scenario feels different to the last
  • Entirely unique game
What didn't impress us
  • Combat can feel quite repetitive
  • Map dialogue feels bland and repetitive

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void Performance Analysis

Performance has been a bit of a rollercoaster, with highs and lows and a few inexplicable occurrences. I'm unsure if it was a temporary issue with my system somewhere, but on day three of reviewing, the game crashed incessantly while recording with OBS.
What we liked
  • Excellent overall optimisation
  • Tiny 1080p VRAM footprint
  • Great 4K performance
What didn't impress us
  • Brief stutter after loading a new game

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void Review

Legacy of the Void is the long awaited finale of the Starcraft II series, beginning with the Terran, advancing with the Zerg, Legacy of the Void throws players into the Protoss story before the eventual mic-drop. This title focuses on the Protoss leader Artanis
What we liked
  • Awesome new characters
  • Great unit personalisation options
  • Brilliant in-game asset cut scenes
  • Huge variation of mission types
  • Tonnes of new assets for the editor
  • Looks beautiful
  • Hundreds of hours of content (PVP, Arcade)
  • Lowered entry skill requirement
What didn't impress us
  • Some missions take 45mins+
  • Campaign not quite as awesome as Heart of the Swarm
  • Very little taught about advanced strategies

Call of Duty Black Ops III: Performance Analysis

The whole ordeal wasn't particularly pretty. With launch issues hitting people with i5 processors, the game's bizarre demand for 12GB of RAM and some peculiar stuttering on my rather capable system, it was all frustrating. Without VSync the tearing is some of the worst
What we liked
  • Able to utilise all CPU cores/threads.
What didn't impress us
  • 12GB RAM usage
  • Crazy high CPU usage
  • Lots of stutter
  • Frequent crashes

Call of Duty Black Ops III Review

Call of Duty Black Ops III is the third in a particular series of CoD titles by Treyarch, part of a much larger series. This latest venture sees the protagonist available in both male and female, and introduces a whole load of soldiers representing every walk of life.
What we liked
  • Tonnes and tonnes of content
  • Extremely deep customisation options
  • Awesome female characters/NPC's at last!
  • Even more Zombie mode complexity
What didn't impress us
  • Guns all feel the same
  • General gunplay is quite simple/bland
  • Storyline isn't captivating
  • Massive grind(unlock) system not for everyone
  • Horribly imbalanced matchmaking